When the Atlantic Ocean swelled on the night of October 29th, the winds of Hurricane Sandy pummeled through the eastern seaboard, moving from Florida to Maine, leaving at least 72 dead, and unimaginable destruction in its wake. It has been five months since that night in which Javier Morán, José Parra, and Felipa Campos, three of countless undocumented immigrants, lost their home to the floods of the storm.
While the heartbreak and vicissitudes of undocumented immigrants are not unlike that of other hurricane victims, their legal status makes their efforts to rebuild, recuperate, and resettle considerably more complicated. Their legal status puts them in an extremely vulnerable position, and the devastation on affected areas has been so great that little attention has been given to them. Though this burden is not a new feeling for them, accustomed as they are to living in the shadows; rather, it is one more complication in a life defined and constricted by their immigration status.
The three individuals photographed for this body of work were residents of Staten Island’s Midland Beach, a working class neighborhood torn apart by the storm. The three are still living on uneasy ground; searching for housing, looking for work, or unsure about staying in the country. It is my hope that these images will give the viewer a sense of the solitude that these individuals carry with them. A sense of what life has been like after the storm, but perhaps more importantly, a sense of what it is like to live life in the shadows.